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  • Ukraine Weighs Paralympics Boycott


    03/04/14

    Russian troops stand by near the Ukrainian military base in Belbek. (Getty Images)
    Around the Rings is told that Ukraine is considering boycotting the Sochi Paralympics amid the country’s deepening crisis with Russia.

    Ukraine sports minister Dmitry Bulatov has already decided not to go to the Games opening Friday “in connection with the aggression of the Russian Federation." It follows Russia’s military intervention in the Crimea region.

    The head of Ukraine’s Paralympic Committee, Valeriy Sushkevych, has raised the issue of non-participation as a reaction to Russia’s occupation. He said the final decision could revolve around Russia’s withdrawal of troops from Ukraine.

    The International Paralympic Committee tells ATR it is monitoring the rapidly evolving crisis and said it is prepared for all scenarios.

    IPC spokesman Craig Spence said that on Tuesday, athletes from 39 countries were training in Sochi, including the 31-strong team from Ukraine. Competitors from six more nations are arriving in the coming days.

    Ukrainian Paralympians practice in Sochi. (Getty Images)
    Spence said the IPC met last night with Ukraine’s Paralympic Committee and is in daily dialogue with the all NPCs about the developing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Chef de mission seminars are taking place on a daily basis.

    “They are concerned about the situation back home. At the moment, all athletes are here training and getting ready for the start of competition,” he told ATR. He added, “This is a situation that will continually evolve between now and Friday.

    “If Ukraine does boycott, we have to respect their decision but for the moment they are here and getting ready to compete."

    Spence said the IPC and Sochi 2014 were pleased with preparations for the Paralympics: “Everything is running really smoothly, but some things are outside our control.

    “We are here to organize a major sports event.”

    Written by Mark Bisson

    Homepage photo: Getty Images

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